There’s a lot of literature for musicians out there, seeking insights on the topic of platform-based growth hacking. And while most pointers discuss the the necessity of strategies within the service, few touch upon outside factors, like preparation, skilled content creation and thinking outside of the box.
There is a vital point we’re trying to make in the article. Knowing how Instagram works, what trends are currently producing the highest engagement is only one side of the coin. The way you modify your habitual sense of content, the collection of imagery and the way social media are connected are just as much part of growth hacking as new software solutions and conversion tools.
That’s why we’re going to hover between inside – and outside factors of Instagram growth. If you, as a musician, want to truly build an organic following of individuals that love your music, but also support your brand as a whole, you will have to develop a holistic visual concept. And one that comes naturally, that is somehow convenient to produce or at least fun. But you will also need to know where to find these people.
Remember – if work is fun, it doesn’t feel like work. That’s a dangerous insight, no doubt, but nevertheless an insight that is absolutely vital when building a consistent Instagram profile. This leads us to the first pointer.
Don’t build something you dislike
Content curation is all about pursuing a genuine interest. This can be a certain aesthetic style, wit or humor, or maybe even absurdity. The fastest way to hit certain roadblocks is to make yourself do something that you, personally, wouldn’t consume, or possibly dislike. You’ll loose interest, keeping up the channel will feel like hard work. Or like a burden.
So – before you even start cranking your output up, make sure you KNOW what you want to build. This doesn’t mean you have to have a complete, visual concept. You might not have it ever. That might not be your strongest suit, but hey – you’re a musician. That’s good enough.
What we’re trying to say here, is – don’t bruise yourself into fitting a certain style. Quality over quantity. Instagram channels dry up because curators loose interest. That is the number one thing you should try to avoid.
Instagram Story Shout-Outs
Story Shout-Outs ARE a thing on Instagram. And you don’t necessarily have to have a certain size to gain some form of credibility. If music comes from an honest place, that’s the strongest argument any artist can deliver.
So, do your homework – you can use Spotify or Soundcloud for that – and find emerging artists that not only suit your musical mood, but also still seem accessible. This can be fellow producers or songwriters. Hit them up on Instagram, and see if they are up for this simple form of exchange.
You can do the same with certain fans that have shown interest in your music. By stating the simple truth that a story shoutout goes a long way, you give people the chance of helping out. You’d be surprised, how many people will actually lend a hand, digitally, if their task is easy, fun, and non- demanding.
Instagram Stories are the perfect medium for this. They are a very fluid, fast paced form of communication. It doesn’t take a lot of emotional and pragmatical investment to help an up-and- coming artist out. At least not in this manner. Just go for it, ask for a little favor. See what happens.
Connect the dots to music streaming data
Viewing Instagram as a closed system of dynamics can greatly hinder any growth-ambitions. Keep in mind that audiences on streaming-platforms like Spotify greatly overlap with Instagram audiences and taste-spheres.
If you’re having a hard time finding the right audience on Instagram, try to do a comparative study on Spotify. Let the algorithm work for you. See who your fans listen to, and look up those acts on Instagram. Try to engage with these fans, by liking or possibly commenting on their content if you find something you like.
However you interact with the crowd is up to you. The take-away here is – try to develop a sensibility for the interconnectedness of different social media and content technologies. And this goes far beyond mere song-sharing via stories or postings.
If you don’t have a big promo-machine behind you, you will have find a way to throw yourself on the radar. Learning from Spotify is an easy yet oftentimes overlooked way of discovering taste-hubs and tendencies that will possibly align with those present out on Instagram.